December 23, 2022

Today, we are going to finish the genealogy of Jesus found in the gospel of Matthew.  As we’ve talked about, there are three sections of 14 names. The number 14 is significant because it looks visually similar to the name of David in Hebrew and Aramaic.  Matthew was written to a Jewish audience, so these languages were familiar to them. What Matthew is doing is intentional.  He is linking Jesus’ birth to David; the most famous king of Israel!

The last 14 names are probably the most obscure.  These names come in the exile and not a lot is known about them.  But, as we end our Advent devotionals, I actually think there is a big takeaway from us.  Every single one of these people lived and had a purpose!  They were unique, with different personalities and jobs!  They were not perfect and they are not remembered in history for their amazing acts of strength, or their ruling, but, God still chose to use each and every one of them!  So today, as we read these last verses, let’s give thanks to God that He uses each and every one of us!

Matthew 1:12-16 says, “And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.”

Praise God for HIS plan and HIS mercy to each and every one of us!

December 20, 2022

Today as we continue thinking about Matthew 1, I want to consider a group of men instead of just one person. Verses 8-11 say, “and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.”

So why are we considering all of these men together?  Well, although they are all extremely unique, there is a lesson that we can learn when we see these men all together.  Before we get into that lesson, you can find more about these men in 1 and 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.  1 and 2 Kings is more focused on the end results of each reign, whereas 1 and 2 Chronicles focuses more on showing how God is faithful to the people through each and every king.

That’s ultimately the lesson for us!  Whether the king was good like Hezekiah, or bad like Manasseh, God was faithful!  Some kings reigned in peace while being evil.  Some reigned in difficult times while being faithful to God, but ultimately, God was faithful to keep his promise to David the entire time!  Notice also, that the line is not destroyed when Judah falls to Babylon.  Instead, just as Isaiah prophecies in Isaiah 11, it becomes a stump, but it is from this stump that Jesus is born!

So today, let’s give praise to God for the fact that He is faithful to all of His promises!

December 16

Today as we continue through Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, I want to encourage us to look at someone who’s a little “off the beaten path.”  That person is Rehoboam.  Here’s what Matthew 1:7 says, “Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,”

Rehoboam is Solomon’s son, the grandson of King David.  His reign is almost nothing like David’s reign though!  He’s very different than his grandfather.  Rehoboam is responsible in fact for driving the 10 northern tribes of Israel away from their brothers and away from their worship of the Lord.  You can find a detailed account of Rehoboam’s reign in 1 Kings 14.  We could summarize it well by saying that in everything he led Judah away from the Lord!

As we read about Rehoboam we read about his failure to lead the people to the Lord, his failure to lead the people successfully in battle or diplomacy leading to the temple being stripped of much of its splendor and we read further about how Rehoboam failed by leading the people into constant war against the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  So how can this man be a part of the genealogy of Jesus?

The simple answer is that despite all of the sins of Rehoboam God is both faithful to David and is also sovereign and in control.  First, God is faithful to keep his word to David that one of his descendants will be on the throne forever. God does not change his mind based on our performance which is wonderful!  The second part of this though is that even though Rehoboam was an evil man committing heinous and hideous sins, God was sovereign and remained in control of the world!  Our God is truly MIGHTY!  Nothing can stop God’s plan, not even one evil king named Rehoboam.  Let’s rejoice today as we remember that our God is truly bigger than any problem that we face!

 

December 14

Today as we continue our journey through Matthew 1, we come to verse 6.  Don’t worry, after this we’ll speed up a bit.  Today, we see DAVID!  Verse 6 simply says, “and Jesse the father of David the king.”

If you remember, yesterday we talked about how God used Rahab and Ruth in His plan despite their imperfections.  Well, the story continues on.  Boaz and Ruth have a son named Obed and Obed has a son named Jesse!  Jesse then has many sons, but there is one who stands out about above the others.  David is the youngest of Jesse’s sons.  But David is far more important than you might expect from the young brother who is sent out with the sheep!  David’s life is far more than we can summarize in just one short devotion.  You can find more on it in 1 and 2 Samuel and in 1 Chronicles.  Basically, God had Samuel anoint David as the king of Israel to replace Saul.

During David’s reign, he reigned with great success and in 2 Samuel 7, God makes a covenant with him.  This covenant says that David’s descendants will reign on the throne forever because of his faith!  This covenant is fulfilled through Jesus who we celebrate year round!  As successful as David was, he was not perfect and he did fall short.

Notably, David had an illicit affair with Bathsheba who was married to one of his elite soldiers and had a son from that.  That son, Solomon, is also in this genealogy.  But the bad decisions didn’t stop there.  Towards the end of his reign, David ordered that all of his soldiers and people be counted so he would know his power.  God told him not to do this and he did it anyway. God punished David, but David went to the Lord and asked for forgviness, repenting of his sin.

That action contains one of the most important things about David.  David was considered a man after God’s own heart, but not because he was perfect.  David was far from perfect.  But, he did something that we can all do.  David was faithful to go to the Lord in repentance and to cry out to God for forgiveness.  Today, let’s take some time to reflect.  Have we been going to the Lord and repenting of our sins?  If we have, let’s rejoice that God gives us grace and forgives us!  If we have not, let’s take some time to go to the Lord and repent.  Even though we cannot lose our salvation once our faith has been placed in Jesus, we still should repent of our sins like David did.

December 13, 2022

 

This Christmas season we’ve been slowly working through the genealogy out of Matthew 1.  Although we don’t have time to talk about every person, we want to highlight a few people.  Today, we are going to talk about a couple that is found in verse 5.  Verse 5 says, “and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.”

Boaz and Ruth.  Two fascinating people.  Ruth is not originally from Israel but has faith in the Lord’s provision and moves with her mother-in-law following the death of both their husband’s, that is Ruth and Naomi’s husbands, and in the middle of a famine!  That’s a faithful woman!

Boaz is fascinating too.  A farmer in Israel, a man of wealth, descended not just from Judah, but also from Rahab.  Rahab was not an Israelite.  Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho!  That’s far from a righteous job.  But, once again, she has faith!  Rahab has faith in God and hides two Israelite spies to keep them safe as they spy out the city for Joshua and the Israelites.  We don’t know quite how Salmon and Rahab meet, although some scholars have suggested that Salmon was one of the two unnamed spies that were hidden by Rahab.

However Rahab and Salmon met, this generation provides us with a unique insight into how God works.  God works not off of past performance, but faith!  God had his chosen people and He promised destruction to the people of Jericho.  But, God spared Rahab because of her faith in Him!  God didn’t just spare Rahab though!  She became an ancestor in the line of David!  This was the very line that Jesus would be born into!

Not only is Rahab chosen, so is Ruth.  Ruth grew up in Moab.  Moabites worshipped idols and did wrong in the eyes of the Lord!  Surely growing up that’s what Ruth would have done also!  Yet, when confronted with the true God she changed her ways!  She put her faith in the Lord just as Rahab had done!  What a powerful testament to the Lord’s mercy and his faithfulness!  Today, let’s praise the Lord for His amazing goodness and the fact that we are saved not through our own actions, but through faith in Jesus!

December 9, 2022

Today, let’s just take a brief second and finish thinking about Judah.  Yesterday we saw how Judah offered himself as our sacrifice.  Today, let’s look at a prophecy about Judah.  Genesis 49:8-12 say, “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow before you. Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes.  His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.”

These are the final words of Jacob to Judah!  It’s a blessing mixed with a prophecy and really, there are two things going on!  First, in verses 8-10, we see how Judah will rule over Israel.  This promise comes true of course when a young man from the tribe of Judah, the youngest son of Jesse, David, becomes king over Israel!  God does not stop there!  In 2 Samuel 7, God makes a covenant with David that includes a promise that his family will reign over Israel forever!  That means that forever will this prophecy about Judah having the scepter be true!  Our King Jesus fulfills the promised ruler from Genesis 49:8-10.

Then when we look at verses 11-12, we see another aspect of Jesus being prophesied about.  This side is not about Jesus as king; it is the emphasis on Jesus as savior!  This emphasizes Jesus blood sacrifice on the cross!  That’s what is going on! But, after that sacrifice, He purifies EVERYONE!  That’s why the teeth are whiter than milk!  It’s a sign of the purity that happens after verse 11, which is talking about the sacrifice of Jesus!  It’s all about God’s plan, not just for Israel, but for humanity as a whole!

So, as we wrap up our short devotion today, let’s take a minute to praise God for 2 things.  Let’s give thanks for the fact that His promises are always true!  Let’s also give thanks for the fact that Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life; a life without sin, unlike you and I, but did it all to sacrifice himself on the cross, dying before He rose from the dead!  It’s because of that action that we are saved! So today, as we finish thinking about Judah, let’s give thanks to God for the gift of Jesus!

December 8, 2022

Today as we resume our brief series of devotionals through Matthew 1, I just want to highlight one person from verse 3; Judah.  Judah is one of Jacob’s 12 sons, he’s the 4th oldest and is a fascinating person in the narrative of Joseph.  If you remember, Joseph is hated by his brothers.  The Lord gives him visions of him ruling over them and his older brothers bowing down before him.  Joseph is the favorite.

Because of this, Joseph’s brothers revile him and eventually conspire against him.  Joseph is sold into slavery for about the modern day equivalence of $20 for each brother.  As time goes on, Joseph rises in Potiphar’s household, finds himself thrown in prison for a sin he didn’t commit, and eventually rises to power over Egypt because the Lord is with him.  It’s during his time in charge of Egypt, ruling as Vizier, or the #2 in all the land, that Judah has his moment of importance.  Before we go any further, there’s a lot to this story that we are summarizing or skipping.  You can find it from Genesis 37-50 and it is definitely worth a read!  All the brothers are in Egypt on their second trip down there and Benjamin has been found guilty of stealing from Joseph’s brother who has not revealed himself yet.  That’s when in Genesis 44:18, Judah has his poignant moment.

In Genesis 44:18, Judah steps up and speaks to this Egyptian ruler (really his brother, he just doesn’t know it) on behalf of Benjamin.  He pleads for Benjamin’s life.  Then, in verses 32-34, Judah says, “For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.’ 33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.”

What’s Judah doing here?  He’s offering himself instead of Benjamin!  He’s offering his life in place of someone who has been found guilty!  Does that sound familiar?  An innocent person offering themselves in place of someone who’s guilty?  Well, that’s the entire reason that Christmas matters!  Christmas matters because Jesus came as our sacrifice, taking our guilt and our place as our sacrifice for our sins!  Today, let’s rejoice in the fact that Jesus came as our Savior!

December 6, 2022

Advent really is a season of anticipating and remembering.  Over the next few weeks, I want to take some time together, through written word, to look through Matthew 1, which is a very powerful chapter as we seek to remember and anticipate!  Matthew 1 very famously begins with a genealogy.  Let’s be honest; genealogies can seem boring when it is not your own family!  After all, if you don’t know any of the people in question, it can seem removed and distant!

But, for the people of Israel, genealogies mattered.  Matthew wrote his gospel specifically towards the people of Israel, seeking to show how Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies and the generations of anticipating and longing!  Therefore, it seems perfect to look at during advent.

What makes his genealogy so special is how it is written.  If you read through it, you may notice that there are only 42 generations listed from the time of Abraham to Jesus.  If you add up those years (many have) and if you look through the names, you may notice a few missing!  But that is on purpose.  See, there are 3 sets of 14, or 6 sets of 7.  There are two thoughts on why this is.  One is that it shows Matthew’s readers that they are in the “7th seven” of the genealogy of Abraham; or, it could relate to a Hebrew way of writing numbers.  See, in Hebrew, there were no vowels in written words and each consonant was assigned a number.  If you add together 4+6+4, you get 14.  If you put those in letters, you get DVD in the Hebrew language.  DVD is of course the consonants of King David’s name; the one who is promised a descendant who will reign forever!  Due to Matthew’s mission, I tend to read the genealogy as 3 sets of 14, showing how Jesus is the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant that is made in 2 Samuel 7.

On this first day of our devotions together, I don’t want to merely stop there.  If we look at verses 1 and 2, we read, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,” which gives us our first few people; the Patriarchs.  Patriarchs are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  All of Israel was descended from these three.  We read about them for much of the book of Genesis and every Israelite could trace their lineage back to these three men.  So as Matthew lists these, he is showing how Jesus is from the nation of Israel!  Remember, that was a must for the Messiah!

To apply this, today, let’s thank the Lord and give Him praise for the fact that He is true to His word!  The genealogy of Jesus is a great example of this as we are reminded of so many promises that God made and that God fulfilled.  Unlike you or I, God will never come up short or break his word!

May 27, 2022

Are you excited for the Summer? I know I am! I love eating outside, grilling as much as possible and being active outdoors! Winter is a hard time for me at least. But as the weather changes, I can just feel myself getting more excited and longing to have more time outside!

Along with the change in weather, we have some exciting transitions coming up at the Church, specifically with regards to Sunday School and our Sermon Series during our time of worship. Let’s go ahead and take a few moments to talk about what to expect!

For Sunday School, we are going to have one combined class, taught by myself and the elders. This will be called The City of God and will be about the basics of our faith! You can expect to have your faith deepened as we open up God’s word together and look at what we believe. Whether you’ve been a believer for 90 years, for 90 days, or you haven’t put your faith in Christ, this class will be beneficial for everyone! We’ll have a time of teaching, time for discussion and time for prayer during this hour.

Following Sunday School, we’ll have our normal service, but we’ll have a summer sermon series. We’ve been going through the Book of Acts, but we are going to transition for the summer months. Our series for this summer is called The Body of Christ and is going to look at both God’s design for the church, but also what God wants from each of us! This will be an exciting examination of how God has designed and ordered the Church and also of how the Holy Spirit is actively shaping each and everyone of us!

With this in mind, we can’t wait for you to join us for our summer fun starting on June 5!

Blessings,
Pastor Daniel

May 26, 2022
Dear Brothers and Sisters of Golden’s Point Church,

This morning I find myself disappointed by the world around us and grieving the heinous loss of life and horrifying consequences of sinful actions. Yesterday, there was a school shooting in Texas, on May 14, in Buffalo, New York there was a grocery store that was targeted. In the midst of all of this, there are human rights atrocities around the world, whether in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Cameroon, China or other places. All around us, evil seems to be too great to overcome.
Human tragedy is something that has been around since the beginning of sin in the world. Yet, that does not make it any easier to swallow. Whether it’s loss of a loved one, or a tragic event like the ones I listed above, it is easy to find ourselves wondering what the purpose of all of this is. It can seem like there is absolutely no point to this and that God doesn’t care. After all, why would a good God allow such evil, such blatant and inarguable evil, to exist in the world?
As hard as it can be for us to understand, it’s important that we look to scripture for the answer. Well, first, let’s make sure we define what evil is. In the truest sense of the word, evil is anything that isn’t purely good. The only things that are purely good are those that are holy and without sin. In other words, we all do things that are evil because evil is tied directly to our sinful nature. To put this one other way, Adam made a choice in the garden to sin against God and because of that, we are faced with the problems that we see in our world today.
But as straightforward as that may sound, I can’t help but think, “Why can’t we fix evil?” Truthfully, there is no easy answer, but before we address what we can do, I want to address this question. Simply put, we are incapable of fixing evil because evil is something that is all around us. Evil is something that we ourselves are guilty of whenever we sin! I find myself thinking about a quote from Forrest Gump. Forrest is talking to his true love Jenny and he says, “Stupid is as stupid does.” In the same way that “stupid is as stupid does,” we are sinful and sinners do as sin does! In other words, we can’t fix sin because we aren’t holy! There’s only been one who is holy and that is Jesus! So, then the answer of what we do with the evil all around us has to go back to Jesus.
Romans 5 addresses this in verse 19. Paul writes, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” The first time Paul says, “one man,” he is talking about Adam; but the second time is the man who brings us glorious hope. The second man mentioned is Jesus, the Son of God who can bring true hope! Jesus can defeat evil and we know from the book of Revelation that Jesus will defeat evil in the end.
I love that we can cling to the promise of Jesus’ eternal victory, but what can we do now about these horrendous issues? I think it all starts in prayer. We can go to the Lord in prayer calling out and asking for his guidance and what he would want us to do! We can go to the Lord asking for his protection and praying for those who are suffering! Our God hears us and is faithful! So, to summarize, as the world tries to figure out what to do with these evil events and heinous mistreatment of God’s creation, let’s get on our knees and pray! Let’s cling to our savior during these hard times, just as we do the good times. Truly only in Jesus is there hope!

Blessings,
Pastor Daniel